Aquatic Peoples of the Brook and River

Today’s inspiration is two variations of a mermaid with stats for Dungeon World and Pathfinder. One is inspired by the Amazon River Dolphin and the other my own invention, a small mermaid suited for life in streams and brooks.


A woman washes her clothes near the river when a splash of water catches her eye. She barely misses the sight of a pink tail disappearing back into the muddy waters. The washing board drops from her hand as she turns to run, but she slows to look over her shoulder and catch the eye of the handsome man now standing on the shore.

Making their home in deep rivers and lakes, rivfolk possess the most magical abilities of all aquatic peoples. At night, rivfolk can turn their tails into legs; rivmen use this ability primarily to seduce human women. Some even believe that there are no rivmaids, and that the rivmen depend on human women to continue their species. All rivfolk act as guardians of the river they live in and will drown those who seek to harm it.

The tail of a rivfolk is smooth, not scaled, and ranges from a dull grey to a pale pink. Rivfolk are not amphibious, and must breath air to survive. They live in underwater bubble cities with breathable air where the dark waters allow them to walk on two legs at any time.

Dungeon World Build:

Instinct: To guard their river

Solitary or small group

Intelligent, Charming

8 HP, 1 armor

Damage: Strong tail and arms, usually used in an attempt to drown (1d8)


Special Moves:

  • Under cover of darkness, turn its tail into two legs.
  • Charm your socks off
  • Guard its river with unrelenting ferocity.

Pathfinder Build:

To adapt this for pathfinder, use the  merfolk  as the base build, remove the amphibious ability and add the following spells: Alter Self  (at will when in the dark) and Charm Person.


This morning I was having such a lovely walk through the woods when I thought I heard a chorus of cardinals singing in harmony. Well, since I’d never heard such a thing before, I went in search and, low-and-behold, it was coming from the stream. You know that big rock at the bend? Yes, that’s the one. Well, seated upon it were four tiny people, but with fish tails instead of legs! It was them singing that beautiful song. I got as close as I dared and stood and watched a bit, but I must have stepped on a twig or breathed too hard, because suddenly they all stopped and looked right at me! Most of them jumped into the stream, but the one closest shot some kind of spine as it jumped. Landed right in my nose, which is why my nose is now roughly the size of a grapefruit.

The shyest of the aquatic peoples, brocfolk are also the smallest, measuring the same length as a loaf of bread. They can be found in shallow streams, can imitate bird calls perfectly and frequently sing with them. Brocfolk are amphibious, and during the winter when the steams are low, they hibernate in the mud and ice. Although they seem gentle, brocfolk possess stinging spines they fire at threats.

Dungeon World Build:

Instinct: To protect their solitude.

Tiny, Small Groups

Intelligent, Cautious, Amphibious

6 HP, 1 armor

Attack: Stinging Spine that causes pain and swelling (1d6)


Special Moves:

  • Sing an enchanting song
  • Easily slip away

Pathfinder Build:

To adjust for Pathfinder, use the merfolk as the base build, and replace low-light vision with seasinger from the playable merfolk class build. Then reduce the size from medium to tiny using the young template. Finally, give them an attack for their stinging spine using the stats of a dart dosed with small centipede poison that also causes noticeable swelling until the poison wears off or is cured. Each brocfolk has 5/dart uses a day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s